Protests Condemning Russian Invasion of Ukraine Flood Streets Around the World, Including in Putin's Hometown

It's day two of Russia invading Ukraine, and residents of other countries are doing what they can to show their support.

As Russia continues to invade Ukraine, with hundreds of deaths already reported, residents of nations around the world are showing their support for the country.

Blue and yellow, symbolizing clear skies and wheat fields in bloom on the Ukrainian flag, have been placed across historical buildings and national landmarks across the world. Italy’s Colosseum was lit up with the colors of the Ukrainian flag Thursday night.

In Berlin, crowds gathered in front of Brandenburg Gate, a landmark that marks where Germany split into East and West before being reunited again, to protest the invasion. In the United Kingdom, Downing Street, the official residence and offices of the U.K.’s Prime Minister, was illuminated in blue and yellow.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson also had strong words for Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“He will never be able to cleanse the blood of Ukraine from his hands,” Johnson said.

Australia’s government has also promised to provide Ukraine with "non-lethal” military equipment and medical supplies.

The United Nations building in New York City said it plainly: “Stand with Ukraine.”

Hours after Russia launched its attack against Ukraine, Russians flooded the streets in opposition. More than 50 cities in Russia, including Moscow and St. Petersburg, Putin's hometown, have seen demonstrations, along with attempts from police to forcibly suppress them. 

More than 1,800 arrests were made at rallies across the country on Thursday, The Guardian reported.

Laws in place in Russia prevent many forms of peaceful protest and organizers of almost all types of protests must first submit a request for permission to have a demonstration.

“Russian authorities have been curtailing the right to freedom of assembly with incredible persistence and inventiveness for years. No other issue has been given so much energy at every level of power. As a result, peaceful street protest has come to be seen as a crime by state officials – and an act of heroism by those Russians who still believe it is their right to exercise it,” Oleg Kozlovsky, Amnesty International’s Russia Researcher, said in August.

People found guilty of “crimes against the constitutional order, state security, social safety or social order” or of protest-related administrative offences more than once in 12 consecutive months, are barred from organizing any public gathering, according to Amnesty International.

Protesters found guilty of violating the Law on Assemblies can face fines as high as $4,000 and jail time.

Still, many gathered in the streets of Russia Thursday and Friday to voice their outrage at the attack on Ukraine.

“They are all doing this without worrying about their own future and threats,” Dmitry Muratov, the Nobel prize-winning editor of Novaya Gazeta, told the Guardian. “These people have all spoken very clearly to say that they are against this bloodshed. And that is very inspiring for me.”

Related Stories